The Muslim Ban Canard

The Muslim Ban Canard

Finally, the Trump administration has come up with a replacement for the visa moratorium on citizens of failed and enemy states until we can figure out how to do this right. Taking a cue from the recent failed attempt, this one will not take effect immediately but on March 16th next.

Chuck Schumer and the ineffable Tony Perez were quick to lambast the new Executive Order terming it “unconstitutional” and an assault on immigrants. Perez went as far as to proclaim: “Trump’s obsession with religious discrimination is disgusting, un-American, and outright dangerous. This second Muslim ban is just as unconstitutional as the last one and it isn’t making us any safer.” It is to be noted that for years, the most dangerous place in Washington was deemed to be the space between Chuck Schumer and a TV camera. It appears that Perez is now giving him a run for his money and it is not unlikely that soon they may trample each other to death in a race to the lens, sparing the country further embarrassment.

But I digress. What neither Schumer nor Perez—nor anyone for that matter—can do is point to any part of the visa moratorium that in any way, shape or form refers to any religion. And the fact that the affected countries are home to a variety of faiths and even divergent and inimical sects of the one espoused by the majorities, seems to be an alien concept for these two brave men. But they go further, and insist on calling the measure a “Muslim Ban”.

In fact, less than 10% of the Muslim population of his world is affected by the moratorium. And with them, a number of Catholics, Yazidis, Zoroastrians, Jews, and others, made smaller by the decades of persecution suffered at the hands of successive tyrannies.[1]

The hundreds of millions of Muslims in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Algiers, Morocco, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Turkey, Guyana, Egypt, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Uzbekistan, China, Malaysia, Russia, Niger and the Philippines, not to mention the Muslim communities in just about every other country in the world, remain wholly unaffected. More, Muslim citizens of the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and a score of other countries are not even required to have a visa to visit the US under the Visa Waiver Program. Of course, Mr. Perez, senator Schumer and every other propagandist out there know there is no religious test, which seems to be no obstacle to their persistence in claiming what they know to be a patent falsehood.

But that is not the only lie.

The talking heads of the Democratic Party also claim that there is no evidence that there is any terrorist threat issuing from these countries, as echoed by the New York Times and others. This is a double fallacy. The first fallacy is that of a false premise: In the very same articles, citing the very same studies, they admit that while terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen pose a threat to the United States, militant groups in the other four countries have a more regional focus.” Well, there is 50% y’all. And to claim that no group poses a threat to the US in, say, Iran, is a little bit of a stretch and downright laughable. The second fallacy is a non-sequitur: the reason for the moratorium is not a verifiable flood of terrorists coming in from these particular countries or sporting a nationality originated there (although 30% of the suspects now being monitored by the FBI with suspect terrorist connections do belong to these countries), but rather the inability of our State Department personnel to carry out the vetting required for the issuance of visas. Whether a gazillion travelers from these countries or none at all turn out to be terrorists is essentially irrelevant. It is akin to leaving the kitchen door open while one goes on vacation. The breach represents a security concern independently of how many burglars go through.

Then, if Muslims are not the target, what could possibly be the reason for the moratorium? Simple, if one understands what a visa is. In order to issue a visa (a permit for travel, in this case to the US), our consular officers are tasked with ascertaining to a small degree of certainty, that the person who desires to travel to the US represents no danger, and has no intention of remaining in the US illegally. We all know no system is perfect and some will inevitably slip through the cracks but, nevertheless, that is the guiding principle. In order to do this, our diplomats must go through mountains of paper and in some cases conduct investigations and reviews. Does the prospective traveler have property, family and a job that would normally be an inducement to return? Is he or she a wanted criminal? Does he or she belong to an organization that advocates the overthrow of the US government? Is the passport the traveler is carrying issued by the Syrian government (not a guarantee, anyhow) or is it one of tens of thousands issued by Da’esh in stock stolen from the Syrian Government? Candidates must provide Police affidavits, property deeds, and letters of recommendation and undergo questioning by our consular officers. Any discrepancy may and often results in a denial of the sought visa. Even when such a visa is issued, a last filter will be the immigration officer at the point of entry. If anything seems amiss, the traveler will be referred to a supervisor and after further questioning he or she may still be denied access and shipped back to the point of origin. A visa is not an entitlement and a tourist is not an immigrant.

Now, perhaps Mr. Schumer will be kind enough the next time he shoots off his mouth top tell us how this process works in Iran or in Yemen, where there is no US embassy. How does it work when there are no government institution our consular officers can turn to for confirmation of statements, police reports, judicial records… The short answer is, not surprisingly, it works not. And that is precisely what the Trump administration hopes to remedy in the face of irrational, illogical and sometimes downright stupid opposition. The opportunity to revise procedures and devise alternatives that will permit a modicum of sanity in the visa process vis-à-vis countries that are either failed states or downright declared enemies of ours and from whom no collaboration can be expected.

The Visa moratorium is not just good policy. It is common sense. It is an indispensable tool to review our visa granting processes and devise a methodology that takes into account the unique problems presented by the chaotic situation in some countries and the outright enmity towards the united states in others, until a process can be implemented that will if not guarantee, at least reduce potential threats. It is not a travel ban, it is not a Muslim ban, and it is not a form of discrimination against immigrants. It is the right thing to do.[2]

If Mr. Schumer and Mr. Perez cannot see the national security implications of this or, worse, if they are willing to sacrifice it for the possibility of a fleeting political advantage, they may have to revise the definition of that epithet they are so wont to throw around: un-American, of course.

[1] Yemen: 56% Shafi’I Sunni Muslims; 44% Shi’a Muslims, small communities of Jews and Catholics.

Somalia: Sunni Muslims 97.5%; Christians 2.5%

Libya: Sunni Muslim 97%; Christians 3%

Sudan: Sunni Muslim 97%; Christian 1.5%; African animist 1.5%

Syria: Sunni Muslim 74%; Alawis, 11%, Ismaili and Shi’a 2%; Christian 10%; Druze 3%; Other 5%

Iran: Shi’a Muslim 89%; Sunni Muslim 9%; Zoroastrian, Christian, Jewish and Baha’I 2%

[2] The US receives more foreign visitors a year, accepts more immigrants a year and grants citizenship to more individuals a year than any other country. In fact, it does so at a rate greater than all other countries in the world combined. To claim that the US government maintains an “anti-immigrant” stance is not only unjust, it is absurd.

6 Replies to “The Muslim Ban Canard”

  1. Excellent expose of the irrational ravings of Sen. Scumer, sorry, I meant, Schumer et al. Why can’t so called journalists write
    more like you do?

  2. Thank you for this posting, Saul! You have shed more light on the doublespeak by Schumer and Perez and also answered some questions I had. Thanks! Love your blog!

      1. I will Saul! I love your opinions and your strong commitment to showing us unique perspectives to things that we won’t find anywhere else. Thomas and yourself are the Dynamic Duo of education!

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